Apple's Voice-Powered Virtual "Assistant" Coming to iOS

siri logoApple will have an extensive voice recognition service in a future version of iOS called 'Assistant', according to a report on 9to5Mac.

It has been rumored that Apple was planning to include voice-related features from its acquisition of personal assistant company Siri, and a partnership with speech-to-text specialists Nuance. Apple, however, didn't mention any such features when it first demonstrated iOS 5 at WWDC in June.

This new "Assistant" feature in iOS 5 is claimed to take voice input along with other user-specific information, such as location and contacts, to provide a powerful service to the user:

We can imagine a user asking their iPhone “Assistant” to setup a movie with one of their friends. The user might say “setup movie with Mark” and based on Mark’s contact info and the user’s location data, will be able to offer tickets to a local theater and send Mark the information.

9to5Mac notes that development of the feature is ongoing and may not be finished in-time for iOS 5, but did find mention of 'Assistant' in buried in the iOS SDK.

"ASSISTANT_ENABLE_WARNING" = "Assistant uses your voice input and other information like your contact names, song names, and location to understand your requests. This data will be sent to Apple to process your request and to improve Apple products and services."


The feature sounds just like what Siri had been working on prior to its acquisition. Their iOS app Siri Assistant remains available on the App Store for download. Siri focused on a concept called "Virtual Personal Assistants" (VPAs) that would accomplish tasks for the user.

Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) represent the next generation interaction paradigm for the Internet. In today's paradigm, we follow links on search results. With a VPA, we interact by having a conversation. We tell the assistant what we want to do, and it applies multiple services and information sources to help accomplish our task. Like a real assistant, a VPA is personal; it uses information about an individual's preferences and interaction history to help solve specific tasks, and it gets better with experience.

Siri's implementation used Nuance's voice recognition engine to translate spoken requests to text which would then be processed. Apple has been rumored to be working closely with Nuance to provide the same transcription service to iOS users.

Top Rated Comments

mattkowalski Avatar
148 months ago
Hope it's a big improvement on the current voice recognition...

Me: Play song by [band name].

Phone: Dialing [ex-girlfriend's name].

...not helpful while driving!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blakjack Avatar
148 months ago
This better be fully baked in time for the iOS 5 release. Android is way ahead when it comes to voice commands.

Not to be rude, but Android voice commands are half baked. What's the point if it works only sometimes?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
148 months ago
Hope it's a big improvement on the current voice recognition...

Me: Play song by [band name].

Phone: Dialing [ex-girlfriend's name].

...not helpful while driving!


lol

But a bit of advice: Get your ex-girlfriend out of your address book, lest you soon to be ex goes snooping...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TNTN Avatar
148 months ago
And I'm sure it'll join Voice Control as one of my never-used features.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
148 months ago
the voice command thing i will belive a good one when i see it. I used the androind one up to revision 2.3 and it was severaly half baked at best. I hope apple wates gets it right and comes out ahead. I can see this being the ios 5.5 mid revision add on with ipad 3 and LTE iphone. The now you can just talk to it and it will do what you want no more typing why type when you can talk is what steve will say

Tend to understand Yoda-talk, even the smartest of phones do not. Maybe that's why you haven't seen a good voice command system yet. :D
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Elrond39 Avatar
148 months ago
It seems to me like we're getting pretty close to a Hitchhiker's-Guide-in-your-pocket scenario... Now's the time to start planning/designing "Don't Panic" cases for future iPhones. ;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Black Friday is winding down for 2022, but many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Blue

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Get Right Now: AirPods, Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and More

Saturday November 19, 2022 8:00 am PST by
Last week was jam-packed with early Black Friday deals, and now that the shopping holiday is right around the corner, we're going back through all of the best sales you might have missed over the past week and updating as prices change and new deals arrive. As with all holiday shopping, there's no guarantee that better prices won't come around later in the season, but if you want to shop early,...
Best Buy November Deals Hero

Best Buy Reveals Black Friday Plans With Sitewide Sales Available Now

Tuesday November 22, 2022 3:49 pm PST by
Following in the footsteps of Target and Walmart, Best Buy this week detailed its plans for the Black Friday shopping holiday and its schedule looks a lot like other retailers. In terms of sales, Best Buy has the expected list of TVs, appliances, video games, computers, streaming devices, and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a...